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1969: Lebanon Declares State of Emergency After Riots

posted on: May 5, 2019

1969: Lebanon Declares State of Emergency After Riots



BEIRUT, April 23 (AP). — A state of emergency was declared throughout Lebanon tonight after anti-government riots in which at least 10 died and scores were wounded.

The state of emergency will last until Sunday, Radio Lebanon said.

Demonstrators had spilled into the streets in Beirut, the capital; in the southern port of Sidon; and in the Bakaa Valley village of Barr Elias. Chanting slogans in support of the Arab guerrilla movement, they clashed in the streets with security forces.

The government admitted that the 10 persons died in fighting in Beirut, in the southern town of Sidon and in the Bakaa Valley, but unconfirmed reports said the total may be higher. Scores were injured and arrested.

In Beirut, machine-gun fire rattled through the streets as six armored cars were called into action.

Students surged through the Basta area, a densely populated Moslem quarter and leftist stronghold, in support of the Arab guerrilla movement, and security forces were stoned from hastily erected street barricades.

The students were defying a long-standing ban on demonstrations to protest against government restrictions on guerrilla activities in Lebanon.

The army clamped an indefinite curfew on Beirut and steel-helmeted troops were patrolling all areas as dusk fell.

The Lebanese government has tried to curb the guerrillas from using this country as a base for operations against neighboring Israel for fear of reprisals.

Thirteen Lebanese civil airliners were destroyed in an Israeli commando raid on Beirut International Airport last Dec. 28.

— The International Herald Tribune, April 24, 1969